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In our interview with Chief Social Worker for Adults, Lyn Romeo, within the Jan-Mar 17 issue of Sanctuary Social Work News, she spoke about the importance of the named social workers for people with learning disabilities.

Lyn Romeo said: “Supported by the innovation unit, six local authority sites are now developing and testing approaches to deploying named social workers to support people with learning disabilities. We want these pilots to help shape what good social work looks like”

Since then, a progress report has been published on the Department of Health (DH) pilot programme giving those with learning disabilities a named social worker to help challenge NHS decisions about their care. 

The report published by the Social Care Institutes for Excellence (SCIE) reveals how each of the pilot areas is approaching the use of the role:

- Hertfordshire has eight named social workers in post who are “upskilling” their knowledge of community support and finding more “user-centred ways to make sure the service user’s voice is included in care planning. 

- Liverpool has three in place and has tasked them with developing “new practice around assessment of inpatients” to ensure the voices of those receiving care and their families are heard. 

- Nottingham is piloting two named social workers, who are focusing on gathering stories from individuals on their experiences of the care system and testing new ways of offering support. 

- Sheffield has suffered from delays in appointing named social workers due to recruitment issues relating to backfilling posts, but it intends on piloting the use of three named social workers. 

- Calderdale has four in post who are working with young people, including a number in assessment and treatment units (ATUs). Their focus is on “unjamming situations” where people are effectively stuck in an ATU. 

The hope is that once the pilots have been evaluated when they conclude at the end of March, the named social worker will in Lyn Romeo’s words “help individuals lead inclusive lives and have the least restrictive care arrangements”. 

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